Pat Tillman

The day after 9/11, Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman (left) told a reporter, “At times like this you stop and think about just how good we have it, what kind of system we live in, and the freedoms we are allowed. A lot of my family has gone and fought in wars, and I really haven’t done a damn thing.”

The next spring, Pat put his NFL career on hold to enlist in the Army with his brother, Kevin. Assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash., they served in Iraq in 2003 and in Afghanistan in 2004.

On April 22, 2004, Pat’s unit was ambushed while traveling through the rugged canyon terrain of eastern Afghanistan. His heroic efforts to provide cover for fellow soldiers as they escaped led to his death via friendly fire. A decade later, Pat’s story of service before self has become synonymous with American sacrifice and patriotism.

– Marie Tillman, president and co-founder, Pat Tillman Foundation

Read more about Pat Tillman here.